I'm Not Missing: A Novel

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A Year in Reading: Octavio Solis

These are the books I have been reading since the year 2018 began. Seven novels, five books of poetry, three short fiction collections, three nonfiction, one art book. 1. Let It Be a Dark Roux: New and Selected Poems by Sheryl St. Germain Sheryl's a body poet, embracing her own first, then the world's, with all the complicated feelings of love and loss that must come with it.   2. The Given World by Marian Palaia A novel about a young woman who ventures into postwar Vietnam in search of her lost brother and her own innocence. Lyric moments that leave one breathless.   3. Crux: A Cross-Border Memoir by Jean Guerrero A terrific page-turner of a memoir, part gothic mystery, part parapsychological trek in which the author comes to terms with her father’s special madness.   4. The Animals by Christian Kiefer  A masterful novel about a man trying to rebuild his life taking care of lame and wounded animals in a wildlife sanctuary.   5. There There by Tommy Orange  A superb new work that upends everything we ever thought about the Native experience in this country. Fierce, volatile, building on the memory of massacres past and present.   6. I'm Not Missing by Carrie Fountain If this is a “young adult” novel, then I’m young all over again, getting caught up in this New Mexico story of a young high school girl trying to cope with her friend’s sudden disappearance.   7. Twenty-One by Katherine Swett How does one write so truthfully of a woman's pain at losing her daughter? Like this. A moving cycle of the sparest poems about hurt and loss.   8. MyOTHER TONGUE by Rosa Alcalá Tremendous collection of new verse in which the poet navigates the shoals of grief and love as she loses her mother even as she herself gives birth to her daughter. The lyric umbilicus threading through three lives is beautifully explored. 9. Doc/Undoc: Documentado/Undocumented Ars Shamánica Performática MacArthur Genius Guillermo Gómez-Peña and award-winning book artist Felicia Rice create a multi-media border-crossing hybrid: the book as performance art.   10. The Immigrant's Refrigerator by Elena Georgiou A stirring collection of stories about the immigrant experience, spanning nationalities, cultures, genders, and sexual preferences.   [millions_ad] 11. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro I realized late that I’d seen the film adaptation of this heartbreaking story, and still I got caught up in these young peoples’ tragic utilitarian lives.   12. Meatballs for the People by Gary Soto Odd little maxim, homilies and saws from one of my favorite poets. Quirky and comical at times, but always wise.   13. Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann A ripping historical account of one of the most heinous and almost completely forgotten series of murders in American history.   14. Spy of the First Person by Sam Shepard A spare how-to manual on witnessing your own slow death. Sam’s final elegiac musings on a world that is slipping away.   15. The Largesse of the Sea Maiden by Denis Johnson Denis’ final collection of stories. ‘Nuff said!   16. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates Required reading for anyone maneuvering through our dangerous world today. Mr. Coates’ open letter to his son is a brutal assessment of American racial politics. Wise, beautiful and powerful.   17. My Father Was a Toltec and Selected Poems by Ana Castillo Ana Castillo's proto-feminist poetry collection from 1988 resonates even more strongly today.   18. Edgar and Lucy by Victor Lodato A thoroughly engaging novel about a young boy who finds magic and fellowship in the company of a mysterious stranger.   19. The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon I lived in England during the late 70’s, which is roughly when this novel takes place. Utterly recognizable working-class neighborhood undergoes a crisis when a house fire results in a death and only young Grace is willing to piece together the clues. More from A Year in Reading 2018 Do you love Year in Reading and the amazing books and arts content that The Millions produces year round? We are asking readers for support to ensure that The Millions can stay vibrant for years to come. Please click here to learn about several simple ways you can support The Millions now. Don’t miss: A Year in Reading 2017201620152014201320122011201020092008200720062005

A Year in Reading: Ada Limón

It seems like the years get longer and longer at this moment in time. Remember when we thought 2017 was a long year? And this year? How do we count the hours as they elongate in the world’s strange suffering. What helped me navigate the world most this year (and every year?) was books. While I travel constantly and I’m often on the road or in an airport, it was living with a variety of other voices that helped me to feel grounded, less isolated. I read a great deal, but not nearly as much as I would have liked. Like most writers, my desk and nightstand are full of books on the to-read pile. Still, I not only read, I also listened to audiobooks. I was drawn to work that spoke to me in that moment, work that was recommended and passed on to me by dear pals. Lists are always impossible and I hate to leave anyone out, but I am going to do my best to be truthful here. These are the books that I adored, that moved me, that I would pass on to anyone. I read widely so my list covers fiction, non-fiction, young adult, and my beloved poetry. In terms of novels, Sigrid Nunez’s The Friend really blew me away for numerous reasons, but I was struck by the sheer power of her sentences, her eviscerating eye, and how she was able to meld both canine and human grief in a way that left me devastated. Tommy Orange’s There There had me deeply disturbed and enthralled, not only for the characters and cultural veracity, but because I think he’s an incredible master of time. I also adored Hannah Pittard’s Visible Empire for the intense, witty, and complex characters. I admit that I didn’t read a ton of young adult fiction this year, but I loved Carrie Fountain’s I Am Not Missing. I read a few surprisingly good memoirs this year and my favorites would have to be Heavy by Kiese Laymon for the way it surrenders to self-incrimination and how the book is truly a love letter to both his mother and himself. Of course Gregory Pardlo’s Air Traffic was exceptionally well written and gave us a deep look into toxic masculinity and the pitfalls of the ego. Terese Marie Mailhot’s Heart Berries was brutal and stunning and honest in a way that felt necessary. I’d also like mention Letters from Max by Sarah Ruhl and Max Ritvo. This is a book of letters between two artist friends before Max’s untimely death. It’s sublime. Now, poetry is my heart’s blood, so this category is tough because I love so many poets that are writing today. I thought José Olivarez’s Citizen Illegal was a powerful debut that was as ruckus as it was artful, as was Raquel Salas Rivera’s lo terciario/ the tertiary. Tracy K. Smith’s Wade in the Water was breathtaking. Wonderland by Matthew Dickman was such a keen exploration of whiteness and the poems are revelatory. Tiana Clark’s book I Can’t Talk About the Trees Without the Blood delivers a lesson on excavating the body and its history. Eye Level by Jenny Xie is a high wire act that deserves attention. I was floored by the relentlessness of Lake Michigan by Daniel Borzutzky. Forrest Gander’s Be With left me depleted by grief and lifted by song. Mary Karr’s Tropic of Squalor was hard-bitten and fierce. Terrance Hayes’s American Sonnet for My Past and Future Assassin is a triumph and a mindfuck all at once. If You Have to Go by Katie Ford is a unique and surreal book about heartbreak. Justin Phillip Reed’s debut Indecency made me stand up and applaud. Another favorite of mine this year is the New Poets of Native Nations anthology edited by Heid E. Erdrich. There are so many more that I love, but I will stop there before this turns into a memoir all its own. Just a few I’m excited about for next year: Ross Gay’s Book of Delights and Dorianne Laux’s Only as the Day Is Long. More from A Year in Reading 2018 Do you love Year in Reading and the amazing books and arts content that The Millions produces year round? We are asking readers for support to ensure that The Millions can stay vibrant for years to come. Please click here to learn about several simple ways you can support The Millions now. Don't miss: A Year in Reading 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005 [millions_ad]
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